Another Palm Beach County jury found Christopher Dean guilty of the Jan. 12, 2005 murder of Eric Flint. And another judge sentenced Dean to life in prison.
That's how the unusual case and retrial ended in circuit court last week.
Flint, 23, was run over by an SUV and killed along the side of Interstate 95 in West Palm Beach. But the driver, Gregory Marlow, now 42, wasn't charged. Instead the state prosecuted Dean, Flint's friend and accomplice in burglarizing Marlow's apartment.
In October 2008, Dean was found guilty of second-degree felony murder in Flint's death. About three months ago, the 4th District Court of Appeal threw out Dean's life sentence and ordered a new trial. It found the jury did not get the correct instruction on a related burglary charge.
During the second trial on Thursday and Friday, Assistant State Attorneys Cheryl Caracuzzo and Aleathea McRoberts told the jury Dean, 33, was being prosecuted under Florida's felony murder rule.
This means a murder charge may be filed against a defendant committing a felony if a person dies during the crime — even if the accused didn't actually cause the death.
The prosecutors say Dean and Flint were friends who went to Marlow's apartment to burglarize it, but were caught off guard when Marlow and his girlfriend, Philondra Thompson, came home.
Dean drove away in a Nissan Maxima with some stolen items, leaving his buddy Flint behind, Caracuzzo said.
Marlow then jumped into his SUV and followed Dean in a high-speed chase, which ended up on southbound I-95, near Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard, the prosecutor said. Marlow continued the chase after a 911 operator repeatedly told him to stop.
Flint ran from Marlow's place and jumped over a fence separating the apartment complex from the highway. Dean abruptly pulled over to the side of the highway to pick up Flint. Then Marlow, trailing Dean, noticed Flint, Caracuzzo said.
Marlow testified he thought Flint was holding a gun, ducked below the wheel and kept driving. He said he briefly stopped, looked in his rear view mirror and didn't see anything, then headed back to his apartment.
Defense attorney Gordon Richstone called Marlow a liar and accused him of intentionally plowing into Flint, making him the only person responsible for the man's death. Richstone also said there was a lack of evidence to prove Dean had committed a burglary.
"Gregory Marlow is a cold-blooded killer," Richstone told the jury. "There is no way in the world it was an accident."
But after less than an hour of deliberations, the six-member jury convicted Dean of both second-degree felony murder and burglary.
Circuit Judge Karen Miller immediately sentenced Dean to life in prison for the murder and 15 years for the burglary.
"It was rewarding that the jury was able to follow the law because it was a unique set of circumstances," McRoberts said Monday.
But Richstone says he expects his client will get a third trial.
"I think we're going to win on [another] appeal," he said.
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